Gym Attire Shouldn’t Break the Bank
Chances are you’ll find “go to the gym” toward the top of your 2012 New Year’s Resolution list. Let’s be honest: part of what motivates us to head to the gym is if we’re wearing fancy workout clothing.
But since we’re only in the gym for a few hours per week, there’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on gym attire. Plus, the purpose of working out is to stay in shape and not to impress others with brand-name clothing and sneakers.
If you’re planning on setting the alarm for 5 a.m. in 2012 to hit the gym before work, here are some ways to cut the cost of the clothes you wear to workout.
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Talk to Your Personal Trainer
Personal trainers can be a huge expense to the already expensive gym membership. But if you need a trainer to help you workout or motivate you to actually show up at the gym and stick to your New Year’s resolution, you might want to see if they can help you save money on attire.
Some trainers have relationships with gym clothing manufacturers and can purchase the clothing at a discount. Ask your trainer if they can get you a special deal on gym gear. Plus, as a trainer, they’ll know what the best brands are and how to find the bargains.
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Go to Bargain Stores
Head over to stores that you wouldn’t normally think carry gym clothing, such as T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s and Filene’s Basement. It is in stores like these where you’ll stumble upon an incredible deal. Keep looking through the clothing racks to be surprised at the depth of the deals.
Theses stores are also known for great prices on socks for your sneakers and other workout clothing accessories, such as sweat bands and cases for your iPod.
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Stick to Generic
If you find a great deal for some of the top-tier brands of gym attire such as lululemon athletica, go for it. However, sticking to the generic or lesser-known brands is a guaranteed way to save money.
For example, lululemon athletica has a long-sleeve running shirt selling for $88 on the company’s website. But at Target, a similar shirt by C9 by Champion sells for only $12.99.
As with any purchase, there is always a tradeoff between quality and price, but at the end of the day, a shirt is a shirt.
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Last Season’s Design
With everyday clothing, it might be easier to tell if something is from this season or last season. But with workout clothing, who will know the difference? And purchasing last year’s styles will be a lot cheaper.
Visit the website of each manufacturer to look at products from the previous season – which will be discounted.
If you do have your heart set on clothing by lululemon athletica, on their website, both for men and women, there is a section titled “we made too much,” which features all of the discounted items. Some of these items were over-produced and some are from previous seasons. Regardless, you’ll find significant savings on this page on a multitude of products from attire to water bottles to gym bags.
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How About Just a T-Shirt?
Do you really need “workout clothing?” You’ll save a ton by mixing and matching with regular clothes that are appropriate for working out, such as T-shirts, tank tops and shorts.
Just because a product isn’t specifically tailored as “workout clothing,” a good old pair of shorts and a t-shirt will suffice. And it will be cheaper without that expensive brand positioning. Plus, it’ll be tougher to find “workout clothing” in bulk. But you can certainly purchase T-shirts and tank-tops in bulk – which will bring the cost down.
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Surf the Net
With nearly every online retailer offering some type of free shipping these days, there’s no excuse not to check the prices of workout clothing online. Head to each manufacturer’s website, the sites of major retailers and eBay (yes, eBay!).
For example, in late December, Target.com was offering a C9 by Champion men’s jacket for $27.98, compared to the original price of $39.99 – and if you buy it, you get another one at 50% off and free shipping for orders of more than $50.
Don’t forget specialty clothing web retailers such as Zappos.com, which always offers free shipping on all orders – and no shipping charges if you wish to return the item.
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Checkout the following websites for some valuable coupons and free shipping codes: FreeShipping.org, RetailMeNot.com and CouponCabin.com.
For Twitter fans, use CheapTweet.com, which puts all of the deals from Twitter into one convenient location – you can even search for Twitter deals by category.
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Take Care of Your Clothing
Let’s say you actually stick to your New Year’s resolution and you go to the gym four times each week. That means you’ll be using your workout clothing frequently – and you want it to last long.
To prolong the life of your gym clothes, wash them in cold water, not hot water, and don’t use the dryer. If possible, hang them up on a clothesline to air dry. You’ll also reduce your energy bills – running the dryer is a big-ticket appliance.
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As the commercial says, there’s an app for that. Yes, there are apps for workout clothing and finding the best deals. Here are some of our favorites:
Fitness Magazine: If you already subscribe to Fitness Magazine, you can access the magazine on your iPad for free and stay current with the latest fashion trends in workout attire.
Red Laser: Available on the iPhone and Android, this free app lets you scan the bar code of an item in the store and the app will find the cheapest retailer. Because how do you know if an item in the store is the best possible price?
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Check Your Closet
Remember last year when you had the same New Year’s resolution to head to the gym on a regular basis? You may not remember about all of the workout clothing your purchased last year that’s sitting in your closet unused.
Before you start swiping credit cards on some new t-shirts and sneakers, look through your closets to see if you already have the workout attire you need.
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Scott Gamm is the founder of the personal finance website HelpSaveMyDollars.com. He has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, MSNBC, CNN, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, ABC News and CBS. Follow Scott on Facebook and Twitter.